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Sally Hansen’s Nail Polish Strips: Does It Work?

A couple questions before we begin.

For starters: How do you feel about nail art? Good? Mostly good? Borderline but you could be persuaded?

Follow up question: Have you ever smudged a still-wet nail mere seconds after finishing that perfect top coat?

Last question: Have you ever seen those Sally Hansen nail polish strips in your local drugstore and, like me, thought to yourself, “No wayyyyyyy.”   ??

If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, or, if you’re just bored and looking for something to read, you’re gonna wanna click through after the jump! Have I got a slideshow for you!

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  • Your Materials! 1 of 5
    Your Materials!
    Here we have the insides of one box of Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips. You get a three-in-one nail file, a cuticle pusher-toothpick type tool, a little instruction booklet, and enough stickers to cover ten digits plus three or so extras, in case you need them for whatever reason.
  • Step One: Prepare Nail And Remove Backing 2 of 5
    Step One: Prepare Nail And Remove Backing
    The first step is to begin with clean, dry, short nails. I say short but really that's a personal preference. These are some PATTERNS we're working with here, so keeping a short nail will keep things looking chic and as far from tacky as possible. So, first you're going to match up the nail stickers to the corresponding finger, depending on the width of your nail bed. Each sticker has a slightly different rounded shape on each end so you can be sure to find your closest match. Then buff your nails so they're not shiny (these stickers will not adhere as well without a little buff), and use the cuticle pusher to push back cuticles if you like. Once you're ready, take your sticker and peel off the white backing. (This takes some care and a little bit of wiggling, these stickers work like vinyl, which has two "backs" to be peeled, with your stickered design sandwiched in the center.)
  • Step Two: Stick On 3 of 5
    Step Two: Stick On
    Once you have your nail strip backing removed, line it up with your cuticle and press down. I found it was easier to press the nail sticker right smack in the center of the nail and then stretch the sides gently to cover the width of your nail, rather than trying to smooth the whole thing on at once, which will leave you with plenty of bubbles. If you do encounter bubbling, don't worry, it's easily fixed at the end, especially if you're working with a patterned polish like this one.
  • Step Three: Remove Topping And Trim 4 of 5
    Step Three: Remove Topping And Trim
    This part took me a while to figure out because the instructions weren't very clear and the nail polish strip wasn't sticking very well, but there is a second sticker backing to be removed, as I mentioned above, and once it's gone, the nail polish will adhere much easier and you'll be able to smooth out bumps and get a real clean look.

    Once you have the strip in place near your cuticles, you can start to peel back the top layer starting at the end, and adjusting and pulling the polish strip more firmly into place as you go. Once it's fully removed, take the cuticle tool to smooth the polish to your nail completely, then bend the strip over the tip of your nail and use the emery board to file it off. This part is pretty easy and highly satisfying, somehow.
  • Step Five: Admire Your Nails 5 of 5
    Step Five: Admire Your Nails
    And now you're done! If you're the careful sort you can top with a coat or two of your favorite no-chip top coat (I like the Essie varieties). I've found this manicure will last longer than a traditional manicure, and so far it's on schedule to last just as long as a gelish or shellac manicure (and it cost a lot, a lot, a lot less, so...). I give the Sally Hansen stick on nails two leopard-y thumbs up!

PS: You can buy nail polish strips of your own (in a lot of different colors and patterns) at most drug stores, or right HERE.

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